Speaker of the Senate Bogdan Borusewicz, who was banned from entering Russia for the funeral of slain oppositionist Boris Nemtsov, had a letter read out at Tuesday’s ceremony.
Borusewicz had been set to head Poland’s delegation, but his address was ultimately read by Konrad Pawlik, deputy foreign minister.
”Through my presence at the funeral, I had wanted to show that Poles are not anti-Russian, they are not enemies of a democratic Russia,” wrote Borusewicz.
”By paying tribute to the assassinated I had wanted to express great respect to all those Russians, the sons of the great Russian people who think like him,” Borusewicz added.
Nemtsov, who served as deputy prime minister during Boris Yeltsin’s presidency (1997-1998), had repeatedly accused President Putin of lying over whether Russian troops were fighting in Ukraine.
He had a long track record of branding Putin’s regime as corrupt, before being gunned down in central Moscow on Friday night.
Borusewicz claimed that the Kremlin ”has led an aggressive war [in Ukraine], undermining the European order.”
He accused Russian authorities of conducting ”a chauvinistic campaign against people who do not agree with imperialistic policies and aggression against a neighbouring country.”
The senator claimed that Nemtsov ”fell victim to this policy” and that those responsible ”should be held accountable.”
Besides Borusewicz, Latvian MEP Sandra Kalniete was also denied entry to Russia to attend the funeral. Foreign officials present at the ceremony included US Ambassador to the Russian Federation, John F. Tefft. (nh)
Photo: EPA/YURI KOCHETKOV